Within the framework of joint professorship appointments with the University of Potsdam and the collaboration with the University of Heidelberg senior scientists of the section Periglacial Research are actively involved in teaching at these universities. We currently offer lectures, seminars, and field courses for Master and Bachelor level students. Usually, classes are conducted in English.

Permafrost Landscapes

University of Potsdam

Master-Module in Earth Sciences (MGEW15)

Prof. Dr. Guido Grosse

Dr. Jens Strauss

Educational goals

Students acquire advanced knowledge of the principles of the formation and properties of permafrost, including its critical reflection and evaluation.
Students can describe the landscape development of permafrost regions and develop scenarios of how the permafrost region has changed in the past and may change in the future.
Students know which methods and techniques for the study of permafrost characteristics and dynamics on various spatial and temporal scales are applied.
Students are able to perform specific and multidisciplinary discussions on permafrost related topics.
Students are able to provide constructive feedback to presentations and discussions.
Students are able to evaluate scientific publications, including preparation and explanation to an audience.

Module contents

This module gives an overview and insights of the formation and degradation of permafrost during the last glacial and interglacial cycle. The basic features of freezing and thawing processes of frozen ground and the related energy, water and element fluxes are explained. The complex relationship between these fluxes and the emission of greenhouse gases is covered, with a special focus on processes related to climate change. Typical permafrost landscapes and their degradation along with Arctic warming are studied using remote sensing methods. The consequences of warming permafrost landscapes on the environment and on infrastructure will be shown. Specific topics will be prepared and presented by the students in oral exercises.

Introduction to Paleoclimatology

Paleoclimate Dynamics

Terrestrial Paleoecology

Practical Course in Quaternary Geology and Paleoclimatology

University of Potsdam

Apl. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Diekmann

Coastal Dynamics

University of Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Hugues Lantuit

Field Class Physical Geography

Measuring and Modeling of Physical Processes in Permafrost and Snow

University of Heidelberg

PD Dr. Julia Boike

PhD and Postdoc Positions

Depending on external funding availability we are also offering PhD or Postdoc positions in our section. These positions will be posted at the official AWI Jobs webpage.

Furthermore, there are options to conduct an own research project in our Periglacial Research section related to our core research themes with stipends from various funding agencies. Currently, several PhD students have stipends and conduct their research projects as guests within our section.

Master Thesis Projects and Student Internships

The section Periglacial Research regularly offers opportunities for students to get involved in ongoing research projects with a Master Thesis or an internship. The possible themes are related to our main research fields and range from sedimentology, biogeochemistry and stable isotope chemistry, physical geography and remote sensing, to paleoecology and genetics.

If you are interested in a Master thesis project in one of our main research fields you are welcome to send an email application to the responsible senior scientist. The application should contain a cover letter, a CV, relevant certificates, a list of courses attended during the studies, and your computer skills (software and programming languages). You also should state the envisaged starting point for the thesis project.

Currently open topics for thesis projects:

Master thesis project:

OSL Dating of sediments in permafrost regions (Dr. Lutz Schirrmeister)

Finished Bachelor, Diploma, and Master Thesis Projects